staffing

Want Better Results From Your Applicant Tracking System? Here’s Some Expert Advice

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Concrete advice combined with some blunt commentary. That’s what you’ll hear in this conversation with Doug Coull, Founder and CEO of APS, the makers of SmartSearch. According to Doug, having a better ATS experience requires that staffing companies change their perspective on software selection. He also believes that the normal customer-vendor paradigm is ineffective and suggests a different approach. Plus he doesn’t hold back when he shares what he thinks is wrong with the software industry. Doug mentions a software selection guide in the podcast. You can request that here.

Scott WintripWant Better Results From Your Applicant Tracking System? Here’s Some Expert Advice
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Rejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This

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It’s inevitable that someone you want to interview or hire will say “no.” However, that “no” isn’t permanent. You can get a talented person to change his or her mind by applying a powerful principle of selling.

I first witnessed this principle during a conversation with a longtime client. He called to say there was somebody else. Another company had approached him, offering similar services for 5% less.

My client explained that he had to watch his budget and decided to seriously consider making a change. He further explained to me that he didn’t really want to, but if I couldn’t meet that price, he’d have to go with the other company.

Now of course, I felt a bit betrayed. Rather than give in to this feeling, which was valid but unhelpful for solving the problem, I kept the conversation going.

“Harvey, I want to thank you for calling and being candid with me. I’m curious. What would it make it worth staying with us, paying what you are now?”

There was a pregnant pause. He didn’t just dismiss the question out of hand, which was a good sign.

“That’s an interesting question,” he said. “There is something. Our payables department has been on us about getting longer payment terms to help with cash flow. If we had a bit longer to pay, that might make it worth that 5%.”

Playing off his idea, I simply asked:

“Okay, what’s longer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 10 more days?”

Harvey’s voice had gone from conciliatory and resigned to hopeful in a matter of seconds. Now, instead of prompting me to adjust my price or lose him as a client, he asked me for accommodations in order to maintain our relationship. This created a productive conversation in place of a “break up” phone call.

Harvey’s company had always paid on time and often, in less than 30 days so his request was by no means unreasonable. Now, I needed only one more question to close the deal.

“If I can get you those 10 additional days, then can we continue working together in the way we always have?”

“Yes, Scott. Thank you! That’s such a relief. I really wasn’t looking forward to the transition.”

I remember ending that phone call with a smile on my face. I had just experienced the value of allowing Harvey to sell himself on an idea, rather than trying to do the heavy lifting myself. I let the better salesperson sell. Him. Not me. He sold himself on changing his own mind.

Yes, I kept Harvey as a client. More importantly, I’d experienced a powerful sales principle. A principle that became an important focus in my recruiting and hiring. That principle:

Buyers always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you.

Job candidates are buyers. They’re buying into opportunities. When they say “no,” they’re the most qualified person in the conversation to change it into a “yes.”

How does this work in recruiting and hiring? Well, there was the project manager who wanted a higher salary than we could offer. I asked, “What would make it worth taking the job for what we originally offered?” He talked himself into that number after asking for an extra week of vacation.

Then there was the accountant who didn’t want to drive across town for a job. I posed the following: “Under what circumstances would you consider commuting that far?” The accountant offered up the idea of a flex schedule sealing the deal for her to accept the role.

Candidates always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you. Let the better salesperson sell, especially when it’s a candidate who just said “no.” If there’s anyone who can get them to change their own mind, it’s them, not you.

Scott WintripRejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This
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Want Better Recruiting Results? Make This Simple Shift

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If you want to achieve better outcomes as a recruiter or if you lead a recruiting team and want them to accomplish more, this episode is for you. You’ll take away a simple approach that’s helping leaders and their teams surpass their goals quicker than ever.

Scott WintripWant Better Recruiting Results? Make This Simple Shift
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Want Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing

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One simple often overlooked action can shift your team from sometimes reaching its goals to crushing them on regular basis. In this episode, I tell you how to do it.

Scott WintripWant Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing
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Improve The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps

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Talent fuels the success of your organization. That’s why your process must be efficient. In this episode, I detail the four steps for improving recruiting and hiring efficiency.

Scott WintripImprove The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps
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Here’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire

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Being slow to hire often means a job goes unfilled for awhile. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a way to be slow to hire that’s fast and effective. It starts with understanding the real meaning of the idea.

The Unintended Consequences of Slow to Hire
The idea of slow to hire has been around for years. I noticed it gained traction as leaders became increasingly aware of the significant costs of a bad hire. The financial cost alone has been estimated as a five- to six-figure sum. Then there’s the lost time, missed opportunities, wasted effort, and added stress. Because of these costs, it made sense to make hiring decisions carefully.

That was the original intent of being slow to hire—taking the time necessary to make smart hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, the idea of careful hiring took on a life of its own. One or two rounds of interviews with prospective hires expanded to three, four, five, sometimes six separate rounds before making a hiring decision. Then there are additional steps including testing, reference checking, and background checks.

Finally, if all goes well, a job offer is made to the most qualified person. However, if that offer is declined and the second choice candidate has already taken another job (which often happens after a long, drawn-out hiring process) the whole process starts all over again. That adds more time, more effort, more expense, and more interviews, making slow to hire even slower.

Has this cautious approach to hiring worked? Not if you’re a leader with an unfilled job. Certainly not if you’re in HR and can’t find enough qualified people. Definitely not if you’re in staffing or talent acquisition and your best candidate was just hired by a faster competitor. The time it takes to fill just one job has reached an all-time high, and there’s been no improvement in employee turnover.

Because of this misunderstanding about slow to hire, the world has been operating on a faulty premise. People have mistakenly been equating time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more take they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. It’s given them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save companies from bad hires; it only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong.

Slow to hire became something unintended. It turned into being slow to fill.

You can break your organization out of this cycle, while still taking a prudent approach to decision-making. You do that by being slow to hire and fast to fill. Here are 6 steps that will help.

Recruit ahead
Pick one role and start cultivating talent for it right now, even if there are no current openings. It’s not if that job will open, but when. You’re preparing for the when.

Build rapport
Let candidates know you hire differently, getting to know people before jobs open. You’ll typically find that talented people welcome this approach since this gives them an option for their future.

Interview actively
Just as you try on clothes before buying them, you can have people try-on opportunities. Invite people to experience your company and culture. Having them try out sample work lets you both determine if a role in your organization may be a future fit.

Maintain contact
Touch base with prospective hires at least monthly. Use the few minutes you spend to pass along valuable information, such as marketplace updates or news on a trend you’ve seen. This keeps your relationship top of mind while also making her better off just from having spoken with you.

Fill fast
When a job opens, offer it to the top person with whom you’ve stayed in touch. If she’s unable to say “yes,” offer it to the next best candidate on your list.

Repeat
As you maintain contact with candidates who are ready-to-hire, you can repeat these steps with another role (if you like). And then another. And then another.

Smart decision-making and a speedy process can work hand in hand when you’re slow to hire and fast to fill. This balanced approach lets your organization make prudent hiring decisions while filling jobs the moment they become open.

Scott WintripHere’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire
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Attract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer

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Talented people are bombarded with opportunities. So many that yours could easily be lost in the crowd. There’s a simple way to make your opportunities stand out—package your jobs as if you’re marketing a product.

I was reminded of this method when I was in the tea aisle of Whole Foods Market. If you’ve never been in their tea aisle, it’s a plethora of color, size, and shape. It’s quite a sight…and a potential sales nightmare for individual suppliers.

Manufacturers have learned to compete in this cornucopia by packaging their tea in boxes, tins, and containers of all colors, sizes, and shapes to attract your attention.

There was a woman standing in the aisle gazing at the wall of tea. As I watched her consider her options, I noticed that she was scanning the shelves, occasionally picking up a box or tin, checking out the back and then either placing the item in her cart or putting it back on the shelf.

I watched a bit longer, curious about the system she had going. Eventually my curiosity won out and I approached her.

“Excuse me, I hope I’m not intruding. I was noticing how you were looking at tea. I’m a consultant. My clients are always interested in how people make choices. I noticed you’re very particular with what you’re looking for. May I ask why?”

“Well,” she started, “I’m bored with my current brand of tea. I’ve decided to try some new flavors and brands. Maybe there’s something better than what I was buying before.”

“Okay, and how are you going to pick?”

“Well, I like a robust tea so I’m looking for cues—pictures or words—on the front of the box that tell me it might be full-flavored.”

“Okay. I noticed that when one grabbed your attention, that’s when you picked it up and checked the back.”

“Right. The front of the box is what captures my attention. Then I look at the back to finalize my decision. Simple as that.”

Tea Lady reminded me that packaging matters. How something is packaged either grabs or repels our attention.

This is why good jobs are often overlooked. They’re poorly packaged.

To get the attention of top talent, you must think like a product marketer. Your packaging (ads, posts, and verbal communication) must quickly grab people’s attention. This is the “front of the box.” Only after you’ve gotten a candidate’s attention will the details matter (the “back of the box”).

Take these steps to improve how you package opportunities.

Step #1: Next time you’re in a retail establishment, notice how product marketers package their offerings. Note the colors they use, the pictures they choose, and how carefully and sparingly they use words on the front of the box.

Step #2: Imagine your jobs were in a store competing with other opportunities. Each job is in a box, waiting for top talent to come down the aisle.

Step #3: Design the “box” with the jobseeker in mind. What pictures, words, and colors can you use to grab people’s attention?

Step #4: Test out a few designs with internal staff or an external focus group.

What’s this look like in action? A tech company with great opportunities was drawing in a trickle of talent. Using these steps, they created colorful images and short videos (under 10 seconds) of current employees sharing brief soundbites about how working at the company has improved their lives. They used these same soundbites as the opening content for written postings and conversations with candidates. Today, the company draws in a strong steady flow of highly qualified people.

Your jobs are important. They’re a product as important as what your company provides to its customers. Package them so that they stand out and get the attention they deserve.

Scott WintripAttract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer
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